For my final article of 2018, I am going to play a bit loose with the definition of “poker” because I enjoy this story. Despite writing for poker sites, I have never been that much of a gambler. When I go to casinos, which is actually rare, given I live somewhere with no casinos, I usually just stick to $5 blackjack and maybe some nickel video poker or something.
I rarely play other table games. But a man named “Harold M.” from Lakewood, New Jersey certainly does and he recently won a million dollars on just a five dollar bet at the Borgata in Atlantic City.
The game was Three Card Poker – see, at least it’s kind of poker – a table game where you compete against the dealer/house, just like in any other table game such as blackjack. In Three Card Poker, both the player and the dealer are given three cards (hence, the name) and, in a nutshell, whichever side makes the best three card poker hand wins.
Before the deal, the player must place an Ante bet, a fancy name for an opening bet. After the player sees their cards, they can choose to continue in the hand or not, just like in regular poker.
If the player wants to keep going, they have to make another bet, a Play bet. If not, the player folds and gives up their Ante bet. After that, the hands are revealed. There are some rules about what dealer’s hand qualifies and what-not, but suffice to say that if the player’s hand is better, the player wins.
There is also something called the Pair Plus bet. This bet pays out based on the strength of the player’s hand and has nothing to do with who wins the hand.
Harold’s big payday, though, came from another side bet called the 6 Card Bonus bet. This is also a prop bet like the Pair Plus, but it combines the three player’s cards and the three dealer’s cards to try to make the best poker hand.
The top payout for 6 Card Bonus is not just a Royal Flush, but a 6 Card Royal, which tacks the Nine onto the bottom end. But wait, it doesn’t stop there. For the ultimate jackpot, a player needs to make a 6 Card Royal, all with diamonds.
Harold had the Ace, Queen, and Ten of diamonds, while the dealer had the Nine, Jack, and King. That made the 6 Card Royal of diamonds, which paid out 200,000-to-1. Therefore, on his five dollar 6 Card Bonus bet, Harold won a million dollars.
And the funny thing is, that payout was very low compared to the odds.
According to WizardofOdds.com, the probability of making a 6 Card Royal is 1 in 20,358,520.
The Borgata said that this was the first time anyone had made that hand in a Three Card Poker came in the history of the casino. Word was that Harold also tipped the dealer very well.
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